Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management., Social issues, public administration, History

Publication Details

The paper 'Craving Alcohol' was presented at the 2nd Dublin Gastronomic Symposium which was held at the DIT College of Arts & Tourism, Dublin, Ireland in 2014.


Individuals involved in the treatment of alcoholism for decades have argued that men and women crave alcohol essentially because they enjoy the effect it offers. This effect is so mysterious that, while adults will confess that these cravings are potentially dangerous to their health and wellbeing, during consumption their reasoning and belief of these facts will alternate between the true and the false. In essence these individuals' alcohol cravings life actually seems to them the only normal life. Some will demonstrate conditions of discontentment, irritability and restlessness, until they can regain the experience and ease obtained by consuming a couple of drinks.

The harmful use of alcohol is a global problem comprised of both individual and social development. It results in 2.5 million deaths annually (WHO, 2014). An alcoholic's body can only deal with alcohol at about one-third the rate of a non-alcoholic. This slower process triggers a craving that does not happen for the non-alcoholic. Essentially, once the alcoholic takes that first drink, they no longer have a choice on the other drinks. This is the phenomenon of craving and this phenomenon will never change unless one can experience a complete psychic change (Silkworth cited in Alcoholics Anonymous, 1939). Faced with these challenges, International Governments in the past have therefore sought to control alcohol’s availability and consumption rates over many decades without much success and unfortunately hard lessons have been learnt.

This paper investigates the phenomenon of alcohol craving which requires both a medical response to stabilize the condition and moral psychological response to produce, as Silkworth (1937) proposed, a ‘psychic change’. The paper will also explore how internationally governments have tried to ban alcohol completely through prohibition and the lessons learned from the failed National Prohibition (Volstead Act) which ran for thirteen years in the United States. This prohibition created more problems than solutions which resulted in widespread organized crime control of the distribution of alcohol and the proliferation of thousands of unlicensed and illegal establishments (speakeasies and blind pigs) which flourished during this period.